Stand Upon Grace

Homesteading with heart~Cultivating the art of intentional living

Miracles

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I believe in Miracles

Miracles happen when we open to them.  God wants us to be whole, holy.  He calls us to him, he uplifts, he heals.  He sends Angels to hold our hands to witness our becoming, to gently guide us into alignment.  All of creation sings our birth song.  Calling us to our divine truth of wholeness, of health, of sacredness.  I can feel the loving vibration elevating me into being, into pure form, into my own sacred essence, into wholeness–holiness,  that I was created to be.

Perhaps this is what ‘holiness’ actually means, a sacred calling to your highest wholeness.

A sacred expression of what is intended and created to move you and through you.

I am expanding and unfolding more deeply and tenderly with divine love than I ever dreamed possible.

I feel the movement of the holy rising within my own beautiful soul.

I believe in miracles…..I can feel it in my bones.

Simple Soaked Granola

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The mud is deep here on the homestead.  The frost reluctant to release it’s hold on the depths of soil beneath dormant grasses, beneath feet.  The top layers of the earth have given into the sun’s relentless boldness and softened to accommodate the new found warmth, but below, deep within the frost still holds tightly to it’s grip on the earth.  This makes for a very soggy homestead experience, as the top of the ground has thawed and released, but the deeper levels still linger, frozen solid, so the moisture of the thaw and intermittent rains have had nowhere to go, nothing to sink into.  No settling, or seeping, only just remaining on the surface wreaking havoc with the topsoil.  Spring in Northern Minnesota.  One day you can sink a foot into the ground, get your mud boot stuck in the muck, and the next day, blizzard, again.

As our bodies yearn for spring alongside the awakening earth, I decided to spiff up my granola recipe to fit more seamlessly into our evolving diet.  This past year and some months has sparked a fire within me for a deeper commitment to our traditional diet.  This means that I am allowing myself the time and space to s-l-o-w the pace and really cherish my time not only in the kitchen, but in the planning of how best to nurture my family.

Rather than just not making granola anymore, I decided to go deeper and create a beautiful soaked granola that is nourishing to both body and soul.  Soaking grains, nuts and legumes is traditionally how they were all prepared.  This soaking time allows the anti-nutrients to be diminished, and unlocks the available nutrients to be fully utilized by our bodies. Our ancestor’s wisdom of allowing time for preparing soaked grains, nuts and legumes is a gift of intentional preparation that we can give ourselves and those we love.  It really doesn’t take extra time, only a little extra attention, which I like to call love.

Becoming intentional in the planning and preparation of your meals, and the beautiful food that you welcome into your home, elevates the experience for all.  In the prep of my grains it feels welcoming and nourishing to pray blessings over them, and give thanks for the deep nourishment we are receiving from this step.  Healing, gratitude, blessings, and joy become a circle of creation, a magical alchemy, in the kitchen.  Our feelings and intentions, the energy we bring to the food we eat greatly influences the experience that we have when we eat the food.  Food created with love brings that energy to the table and becomes a part of the experience of the meal.  Likewise, food that was rushed or created in a state of stress, frustration, or anger brings those feelings to the table.

I choose love.  I choose to create, nurture, and nourish in love.  I choose to cook with love, for myself and my family. When I find myself in a rush, a mood in the kitchen, I stop.  I breathe deep.  I accept and explore what I am feeling and what may be the cause.  Then I ask myself if I can shift into a space of love.  I breathe into my heart and allow myself to experience the expansion of love physically within my body.  Some days this takes a few deep breaths.  With practice I have become more aware of my feelings and intentions when I am creating in my kitchen.  I practice gratitude for the food we have.  I pray love and peace and deep nourishment over the kettle, bowl, or pan.  I forgive myself when I haven’t gotten it right, and take a break when I need to step away.

This way of nurturing, nourishing, slowing to create and cook brings a deeply connected experience to all who partake of the meal or offering.  It takes things below the surface of the daily muck, deeper into the safe and cozy cocoon of the soul, it settles gently in bones, satisfies and satiates every craving, every desire, and creates soulful contentment.  Mmmmmmm…..

Ever wonder why Grandma, or Mom’s, or Great Aunt Ruth’s meals were so fabulous?  They knew the secret ingredient.  They understood that a heart full of love and gratitude makes beautiful food, and deep soul nurturing goodness.

I invite you this week as you plan and prepare, cook and create, to do so with intention and love.  You won’t be disappointed, go deeper, go through the muck to get to the still quiet place of contentment you crave in your bones.

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Simple Soaked Granola

makes approx. 12 cups

6c. thick rolled oats (gluten free if necessary)

2/3c. sunflower seeds

1/2c. sesame seeds

2c. roughly chopped almonds

1 quart (4cups) tepid water

freshly squeezed juice from one lemon

1/2c. melted, unrefined coconut oil

1/2c. pure maple syrup

1/2c. liquefied raw honey

1/2t. Redmond real salt

2c. coconut chips

optional:  Add 1-2 cups of dried fruit of your choice.  (We used freeze dried strawberries in this batch to help settle our spring fever)

In a large mixing bowl with a lid, combine grains, seeds, and nuts.  Pour over one quart of water, and the freshly squeezed juice of one lemon, stir.

Add melted coconut oil, maple syrup, liquefied raw honey, and salt.  Stir well to combine, pressing granola mixture down into the liquid. (It will not be fully immersed, but just pressing it down, packing it a bit into the liquid will suffice)

Place lid on the mixing bowl and set aside for twenty-four hours.

After the granola mixture has soaked for twenty-four hours, add coconut chips, stirring to combine.

Prepare two large baking sheets with parchment paper to avoid sticking, turn half the soaked granola mixture onto each sheet. Spread into an even layer.

Turn oven onto it’s lowest setting*.

Place both sheets of soaked granola into the oven.  After 30 minutes, stir gently.  Bake 4-6 hours on lowest setting checking in and stirring every 30 minutes.  Granola is done when it is baked through, dry and crisp in the center of the clumps when you break them apart.

Once granola has cooled completely, stir in the optional dried fruit of your choice, store in an air tight container or jar. Enjoy!

NOTES:

*Timing on this varies with each oven.  The ideal temp is 170 degrees, but my oven is warmer than this so the cook time was approx. 4 hours.  You may also use a dehydrator if you do not want to babysit the oven, following manufacturer’s instructions on the dehydrator.  I found this process to be really hands off, and was pretty relaxed about the stirring, I wanted to have chunky granola, so that is stirred less often, leaving clumps intact, just paying attention to turning it over to get a more even browning of the granola. If your oven has a pilot light and is always gently heating, this may also be a great way to slow cook your soaked granola.  As always, when first making a recipe, be attentive to the process as you become acquainted with your oven and how much time and attention a recipe needs. 

 

 

Fermented Foods: KimChi

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Nurture yourself, feed your internal fire.

Deep winter is an ideal time to stoke the internal furnace of your digestion.  Keeping the digestive fires going insures strong robust digestion which directly translates to feeling strong, robust, and stoked.  Fermented foods are a fabulous way to maintain the digestive process.  It helps us to utilize deeply the available nutrients within our food.  KimChi is a traditional fermented food with roots of origin in Korea.

KimChi is not something that I grew up with.  It has been a fabulous new adventure as an adult.  I did grow up with sauerkraut, although my family did not make it, we did eat it.  As a child, I loved the sharp bite, the tang of sauerkraut teasing my tongue, and ate it by the bowlful whenever we had it in the fridge.

Fermented foods were a part of my childhood.  Yogurt, pickles, sauerkraut, pickled beets, etc. were always a source of sheer delight for me.  KimChi naturally resonated with my body when I was introduced to it a few years ago by my beautiful friend and family member, Donna.  I love Donna.  And I love Donna’s KimChi, and I love that she was gracious enough to share the recipe with me.  It is moderately spicy, choc full of garlic and glorious fermented vegetable goodness.  I eat it nearly every day.

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Fermented foods are deeply nourishing for our bodies.  They are a traditional link to our ancestor’s diets.  Ferments were relied upon before refrigeration was common in order to preserve the harvest, and daily dairy abundance.  They are overflowing with probiotics, digestive enzymes, and have prepared the food to be fully utilized by our bodies.  Our bodies have evolved over time to receive deep nutrition from the fermentation process, and it is an essential part of our diet that may be missing for some in these modern times.

Adding ferments back into a regular part of your diet is simply nourishing for your digestive system and helps bring health and wellbeing back into your body.  Regularly incorporating fermented foods into your daily rituals is as easy as eating high quality  yogurt, keifer, komboucha, artisan cheese and bread, sauerkraut, kimchi, and other lacto-fermented veggies.  They are easy to make at home, or readily available at your local farmer’s markets.  More and more grocery chains and co-ops are offering these options, but understand that everything you buy that is prepackaged has been pasturized, at least in Minnesota, and most other states, eliminating many beneficial strains of good bacteria, enzymes and probiotics.  These offerings are better than nothing, but creating your own, or finding a loving source that offers these life giving foods to nurture both body and soul will elevate your experience.

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Everyday KimChi

Makes about one gallon

10 lbs. napa cabbage

Wash and cut cabbage into bite size pieces, approx. 1 inch.  In a sink filled with cold water, rinse and clean cut cabbage.  Drain.  Transfer clean, drained cut cabbage from sink into a large mixing bowl, layering with 1 cup of salt as you go.  Allow cabbage and salt to stand for 1 1/2 hours, mixing and turning every 30 minutes.

Prepare porridge while cabbage and salt are resting.

1/2 cup sweet rice flour

3 cups water

In a medium sauce pan mix sweet rice flour with water.  Whisk well.  Over medium high heat, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for five minutes, until thickened and cooked.  Remove from heat, add 1/4 cup of evaporated cane juice, and cool.

In blender or food processor, process for 1 minute:

1 T.  fresh ginger, peeled

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup fish sauce

1 cup garlic, cloves chopped

Combine cooled porridge with sauce to make a paste.

Add Asian Hot Pepper Powder for desired hotness.*

1 cup= mild

2 cups= spicy

2 1/2 cups= very spicy

*you can find Asian Hot Pepper Powder at an Asian Market, or an online vendor.

Cut up and add to paste:

1 leek

7-10 green onions

2 carrots

Korean radish (Daikon Radish)

And any other veggies you would like to add to the ferment.  I like adding cauliflower, it adds more body to the finished kimchi and helps to stretch out my cabbage if I have a little less than ten pounds.

Rinse soaked and salted cabbage 3-5 times under cold water to remove excess salt.  The easiest way to do this I have found, is to drain the soaking liquid off the cabbage, and place in a large mixing bowl.  Fill bowl with cold water, using your hands swish the cabbage around, drain and repeat.

In a one gallon glass jar, or crock stir prepared cabbage and vegetable paste mixture together, mix well.  Pack down into vessel allowing liquid to rise up and immerse mixture.  Cover loosely with a solid lid (I use a plate to cover my crock, or use the lid from the gallon glass jar without screwing it down tight).

Allow to ferment in a cool space, out of direct sunlight for 24-48 hours or until bubbly and fabulous.  Store in fridge.

Eat joyfully everyday.

 

Wildly Free Herbal Coffee

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What makes you feel wildly free?

Is it your morning coffee routine?  Or does your morning coffee routine make you feel bound and tethered to the pot, begging for immediate mercy?  The balance for me lies somewhere between wildly free, and somewhat bound and tethered on most days, if I am being boldly honest with myself.

I love my morning cuppa joe, savoring the sips of pungent fragrance, steam rising directly into my nostrils as I slowly breathe it in with each press of the mug to my  ready lips.  This morning ritual, for me, marks the beginnings of movement for the day.  It awakens and invigorates my senses, not because of the caffeine rush, rather it’s the awakening of my sense of sight as I gently pad warm bare feet over chilly winter floors enveloped in quiet darkness, lit by soft, glowing light, of smell as I grind the beans, quickly releasing the sharp, complex aroma of a rich roast, of touch as I fill the kettle and prepare the pot with loving intentions to gently nurture the household, of sound as the shrill whistle of the kettle signifies readiness, both for pouring and also for beginning of the day, and of taste as the first warm earthy-golden liquid meets my tongue, it’s as if heaven and earth have united, if only for a moment, allowing me to pause and savor first thing in the morning.  A beautiful way to start the day.

It is this that brings me back to my morning mug.  All is right and well with the world for me if I stick to my morning ritual, one truly fabulous cup of coffee.  It is when I go for gold, I get greedy, and keep returning to the pot for more, and more, that I fall into the bondage of the coffee trap.  Now dear friends please understand, I live in frozen tundra for several months of the year.  The NorthWoods of Minnesota is beautiful, rugged, and not for the faint of heart.  This is why a hot mug in hand is more than a luxury, it is a necessary part of nurturing both body and soul.  Plain winter survival around here.

Welcoming Wildly Free Herbal Coffee into my day transcends the coffee experience with none of the side effects of regular coffee for me, tension, jitters, tiredness, brain fog, blood sugar fall-out, dehydration, headaches, and adrenal stress.  Instead, I get to nurture myself with a beautiful latte any time of day and continue to feel fabulous, vibrant, and full of pure energy, clear, unfatigued, truly and wildly free.

This is my signature blend that comes from a strong desire to honor my need for a hot mug in hand that nurtures my body as well as my soul.  I love tea, but there are just times, especially in winter, that deeper bold roast is stimulating on the tongue and so, so, soul satisfying.

With roasted roots playing the leading roles, wild, hand harvested chaga rounding out the blend imparting a mellow earthiness, an option of raw cacao gives way to a choice in decadent mocha notes, if one should so desire.  Topping this blend with freshly made coconut milk and a splash of fire cooked maple syrup,  makes a full body experience of sheer and complete ecstasy.  Nurturing yourself never tasted so good.

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Wildly Free Herbal Coffee Blend

makes one 32 ounce french press

1 T. roasted chicory root

1T. roasted dandelion root

1T. powdered, or finely ground chaga

optional:  1T. raw cacao nibs

Gather all herbal ingredients, measure directly into French press.

Bring 32 ounces of water to boil in a kettle over high heat.  Remove from heat, carefully pour hot water over herbal blend into the French press.

Let steep 7-10 minutes, press, and pour.

To make a latte, pour half a mug of wildly free herbal coffee, top the mug off with freshly made frothy coconut milk and a splash of artisan maple syrup or honey.

Indulge with wildly free abandon.

Food + Sacred

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Your Body is a Temple.

The body is the house of our soul, the sacred temple that we get to live this one wild and wondrous life in.  It is a magnificent gift.  I invite you to explore the connection between how you feel internally, with what you are choosing to consume, the link between food + sacred.

What we eat, what we choose to put into our body matters.  How we fuel our sacred vessel is up to us as individuals, how we choose to nurture and nourish ourselves and those we love does make a difference.

The modern disconnect of our body from our hearts, minds, and spirits is coming to an end.  More and more, we are awakening to the idea of wholeness, of holistic wellness, interconnectedness, and becoming aware of what that means for us as individuals and a society at large.  No longer accepting the status quo, we are examining our own personal truths and how we can live them.  We are listening to the wisdom of our body, opening to a world of better choices, learning to trust in the circular rhythms of nature, and welcoming a homecoming of our sacred selves.

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For millennia food was considered sacred.  It was a gift.  It was understood that what we ate and how we nourished ourselves, impacted the energy, the vibrancy, the magnitude and fortitude to fulfill our soul’s purpose. The connection between food and sacred was understood.  It was honored, reverenced.  Food was medicine.  Food is quite literally, our lifeline. Food was prayed over with gratitude, it was blessed.  The sacred connection was honored through whispers of hearts.

So as not to be misunderstood, I am not speaking to creating a false idol of food, or worshipping food.  What I speak to is our connection to food, to ourselves, our divinity, our highest purpose and calling in this life.

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A sacred circle of nurturing ourselves and those we love in an elevated, holistic manner, cultivating and validating an intentional connection between what we choose to eat, how we nurture ourselves, directly correlates to our ability to live in a harmonious way resonating with the cycles of nature surrounding us.  Honoring the understanding that if we do not have the energy, the strength, health, and vitality that our soul’s purpose calls us to, we cannot fulfill the mission that we have been gifted with in this life.

For example, I cannot be the best mama I am capable of if I am feeling unwell, exhausted, and can’t think straight.  It has been my experience that what I put in my mouth directly affects my life, my energy levels, my health, and overall feelings of wellbeing.

the goodness of the earth..

Imagine with me for a moment….

Imagine that you feel vibrant, fabulous, nourished, and nurtured. See yourself standing in the sunlight surrounded by a beautiful, bountiful garden, brimming with fresh, vibrant, living food growing with wild abandon in a perfectly organic way.  Feel the warmth of the sun on your hair,  your bare feet in the soft, fertile, moist soil, toes wiggle in as you inhale the aromatic earth releasing her perfume from beneath your feet.

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Inhale deeply.  Feel the electricity of the colors surrounding light you up from within.  Red ripe tomatoes ranging in rosy shades of crimson to warm ethereal mauve, brilliant yellows, moving into deep shades of chocolate.

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Chartreuse greens giving way to deep forest, break into bright neon that illuminates in the sun.  Waves of lettuce and greens dance ripples of joy in the gentle breeze.  Bees buzz softly, butterflies light and flutter effortlessly.

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Roots draw deep nutrition from the depths of soil and hold it within the quiet, waiting.  Berries, plump, fertile with nourishment, hang heavily from stem, ripe for the plucking.

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Now imagine that this is your food.  This bountiful goodness is how you choose to nurture and nourish yourself and your family.  How does that feel within your heart?  Does it speak gentle whispers of intrigue?  Or perhaps a resonating,  YES!  coming from soul level.

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Food was meant to awaken our senses, and ignite our passions.  It was intended to uplift and elevate our soul, to enliven and invigorate.  Food alights our sacred connection to the heavens and the earth.  It is our gift to nourish and nurture ourselves from within.  We have a conscious choice of what to fill our body with.  Whether you choose to grow your own food, or wisely choose from other intentional growers, gardeners, homesteaders, or small farmers, is up to you.

The important thing to understand is, YOU HAVE A CHOICE.

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I choose to live this personal truth by homesteading, intentionally growing, wild foraging, and preserving beautiful, organic food to nurture and nourish both body and soul.  It is a quiet revolution of peaceful activism.  I do not accept the choices deemed safe, nutritious, or healthy by others.  I choose to listen to the wisdom of my body, the whispers of my heart and the rhythms of mother earth.  She speaks of healing, renewal and vitality, she gently guides us to a better way, a more nurturing way of being, living, experiencing our sacred selves.  I choose to walk intimately with her cycles and my own.  I trust in her and my ability to nurture and nourish.

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In the still, dark, quiet winter season of planning, take a moment to explore with wonder and curiosity, to go deeper, feel into the space of reflection with openness the intention to search your heart’s desires, pray for guidance, and get clarity on what your personal truth is.  What does food + sacred look like, feel like, for you in your body, your sacred temple, in your home?  In what ways would you like to more deeply honor that connection?  Pause to create an intention around how you choose to nurture and nourish yourself and your family in the coming season.

When we choose to be intentional with how we nourish our bodies, we are honoring the wisdom of those who came before, of the sacred connection between our soul, our divine purpose, the planet we call home, and the temple in which we dwell.

How do you choose to nourish your sacred temple today?

Awakening

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The day broke strong and bright signaling the beginning of the weekend.  Warm humidity of melting snow permeated the air, and stirrings within me suggested strongly the possibility of the maple trees awakening, sap running.  Gathering my brace, hammer, and a few taps in my vest pocket, I stepped out into the melting snow, feeling the crystalline crunch beneath the leather on my feet–sugar snow.  My pulse quickens my steps, as though I can feel the stirring within, rising up from beneath, a rousing in the roots that have lay quietly sleeping.

It is not a long walk on the path of the sugar trail to the first maple. I can feel the certainty of unseen movement beneath the earth, under layers, beneath bark and skin, as I move along,  curiosity stirring in my bones.  I whisper a prayer, blessing, an offering of gratitude on my breath as my feet step deeply through soft, grainy layers of retreating snow.  Approaching slowly, reverently, bowing from within before the regal tree, honoring the sacred connection between creation and me.  Gently my hands caress, bringing skin to bark, asking silently where it is that she is willing to give from, where it is I may receive.

I close my eyes, breathe deeply her essence, lean in, and feel to where she guides.  Her wisdom is deep, I trust her knowing more than my own.  I see with eyes, as well as heart, the space that she provides to nurture, share her lifeblood, her sap.  I feel her readiness to open, to receive, to offer and give freely, all that she has to share, her longing invitation to nurture deep those who are waiting.

It is with whispers of prayers from softly parted lips, deep gratitude, and genuine love, that I place the first tap.  I open her slowly with gentle hands and notice the wetness, the dampness that signals all that she offers.  With heightening energy and emotion, she brings forth from within, her gifts.  The sap runs freely, wildly, gently, pulsing life echoing the pulse under my skin.

The awakening has begun.

Yoga Coaching + Soul Mentoring

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It is my humble honor to announce that I am now offering through this sacred space, yoga coaching, guidance, and soul mentoring.  Allow me to accompany you on your soul’s journey to embrace the life you envision creating.  Together we will explore what it is that you desire most, learn to connect and nurture your authentic self, bravely break through any blocks or barriers that may be holding you back, experience your sacred soul and divine connection, all while learning the language your body is speaking, and uncovering the messages she is waiting for you to hear.

Listen to the voice within.

It is my desire to serve and uplift others through sharing my soul’s work and journey, to help lead, empower, and guide you to connect with your inner wisdom, experience your sacred soul, and unite you with the divine spirit that dwells within.

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You are sacred.

I believe in the sacred divine that lives within our hearts.  I believe that we are all sacred, that we are born sacred, and die sacred.  I believe that in order to fully experience life and our highest potential we must tap into the sacred essence that is us.

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I long to help other women recognize, understand and embrace their sacredness, their  worth, their value, and their inner divine beauty. 

Know that you are loved and supported, beautiful one.

It is time for us to all to rise together and acknowledge that we are sacred beings living connectedly on sacred ground,  bring that awareness into light, and explore what gifts we can courageously share with each other.  Allow me to help you uncover your sacred soul’s purpose, your heart’s calling, and your unique, divine connection for your life.

Rise and shine.

Through yoga coaching and soul mentoring, meditation, intuition, prayer, mantra, affirmation, journaling, and other healing modalities specific to your needs, I will support and guide you on a soul level. As I hold the sacred space for you, we will work together to cultivate an intentional life, acknowledge your authentic self, find your own true north, and experience your connection to the everyday sacred.

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Welcome home.

Now that you are ready to step into your sacredness, open to your life, experience bountiful joy, recognize your voice, feel your authenticity, and your uniquely beautiful brave bold, I would be honored to hold the sacred space for your journey as your sister guide.

 

Meet Me

Discover more

 

A New Frontier

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I have often wondered when we have traveled down roads, what it must have felt like to be a pioneer in the days of new territories and lands undiscovered, wagons and horses, families, and critters all traveling together into the unknown promises of it all.  They packed it all up, gave away the extras, made provisions for people and animals, prayed over their journey, and then one day they loaded the wagon and started out.

Hearts full of the unknown, brimming promises of new beginnings, prosperous perspectives, faith that this is the way that they should go.  A path less traveled, but nonetheless they started out.  Looking for faint wagon tracks in the dust.  Whole families all in it together. All following a leading of heart, a whisper of God’s goodness, a promise of a new frontier.  Bonded together through thick and thin, not knowing exactly what they would encounter along the trail, but still they started out.

Today is that day for our family.

We are starting out.  The wagon has been packed, provisions made, prayers spoken, hopes and new frontier dreams brim our hearts.  Side by side, and hand in hand we will be making the journey.  All in for the long haul.  We don’t know quite yet what this new frontier will hold, this virgin territory of our lives, but we trust in God’s goodness that this is the way we should travel.

What this means for our happy little homestead is not quite clear, but is beginning with a new frontier.

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We have been keeping a little secret.  Nurturing the seed of an idea, that has been incubating quietly in our hearts.  We have been leaning in, learning, and taking inventory on what is really and truly important in our lives, and where our loyalties lie.  We have been talking more and more about what it is we believe, who we are, and who we are called to be.  We are beginning to see more clearly through the thicket, the path that is lying before us.

Prayers have been said, hearts have been sought, and wisdom searched for in the still moments.  This one glorious and beautiful life that we have been gifted with should be lived with intentional, meaningful, heart-filled work as we prepare to take the next steps in a new beginning for our lives, and also on this blog site.  It is a time of high creativity, love, excitement, yet also some trepidation.  What if we put it all out there only to be returned by blank stares and the chirp of a rogue cricket????

Faith is where we are at.

We are trusting the small quiet whispers of angels in our hearts, that this is the direction we should go.  We cannot see the outcome, but know in our hearts and our guts that this new beginning is where we must start.  Our home is changing.  With one child flown from our little cocoon nest the reality of this next season of life came with a sharp wind of change.

Our time here is never as long as it seems, and all the tomorrows seem so distant, yet the reality of it is, today is what matters.  All the plans and good intentions in the world matter not what the gift of today brings.  We love that our eldest child is independent, spreading his wings ready to soar, but it all caught us a little by surprise that the time, the whole of 18 years, could actually pass in a blink of a moment.

Wow.

So here we stand, my man and I, hand in hand, brimming hearts and burning gaze peering out over the horizon, wondering much like pioneers on the verge of a new frontier, where do we go from here….?

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The answer is forward, as we cannot turn back now, we’ve come too far.  The dust and dirt mixed with the laughter and tears of the trail muddies the tracks of where we have been, the miles we have walked together, the joys and sorrows that we have witnessed bonds souls deep, and moves us quietly forward to follow the subtle wagon tracks on the path that lies ahead.

We are pioneers of our own lives, and that of our family, on the cusp of a new frontier, trusting that the trail will bring the blessings as promised.  We have also come far enough to know that together we can, and we shall, walk along hand in hand, heart to heart.

 So pack your wagons, make your provisions, pray your prayers, and get ready to pioneer into a New Frontier alongside us as we journey together down the path less traveled.

Giddyup!!!!

Breathing Room

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Because we all need a little breathing room.

Some days it’s hard to breathe.  We lose our way, our connection to ourselves in the midst of stress, of the daily to-do’s, in the momentum of living in this fast paced life.  Let’s take the time to s-l-o-w.  Set the intention of slowing our pace, creating an awareness of peace, a quiet center to return to when life pulls you away from your true north, and the beauty of who you are.

Come home to your quiet center, return to basics, return to your breath.  Allow yourself a few moments to connect, get grounded, feel the peace within by nurturing an awareness of your breath.  Peace is accessible to us, anytime, anyplace, all we need do is remember it is there comforting us and surrounding us, invite peace to envelop you as you breathe it in.  Hold peace gently in your center and feel the support radiating out to hold you back.

Breathe Peace.  Be Peace. Peace is within.

I invite you to enjoy this beautiful, gentle guided meditation to nurture peace within your soul.

 

Peace Begins With Us

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Giant snow flakes float gently earthward creating softness surrounding our little homestead house.  Quiet white envelops us in a peaceful blanket spread smoothly over the valley.  It feels comfortable, a warm welcoming back to center, back to home.

Things in this world can feel overwhelming, especially if you are someone who feels deeply.  It can hit you like tidal waves, crashing into you like a wall of brick, smacking hard stinging skin and cracking bone, rolling you over into tumultuous seas, plunging directly into the depths of an ocean you had no idea was surrounding you.  Clinging and clawing, struggling to breathe, find footing on solid ground, lungs searing hot and longing for breath can leave you washed up on shore with sand plastered into hair and eyes, bruised and battered broken wanting desperately to know what just hit you.

Tsunami. Tidal Wave.

I welcome the gentle, the fresh, clean white of newly fallen snow.  Crisp air fills lungs and brings you back to the present moment.  Back to your quiet center, welcoming you back to home.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could stay here, in this peaceful place where all is quiet and well within our souls?  What if I told you, you could?  Would you believe me, or say it isn’t so?

Our natural state is peace.  We want to live in love.  When we are aligned and centered, and all feels good, natural, energetic, and connected, when love flows through us we are open and loving, peace permeates our hearts, bodies, minds, and lives.

We all get blindsided, thrown off track every now and again.

Even the most devoted, the most intentional, fall prey to the human condition and the state of the world around us.  Stress hits us hard, taking its toll, making us irritable, and robbing us of joy.  We cope daily with the challenges and stresses of our lives.  Holding a job, raising a family, nurturing relationships, managing businesses, and just plain ol’ daily life, not to mention all the chaos and changes that are going on in the world right now throw us off balance and cast us far away from our naturally peaceful, loving state.

How do we find balance and regain peace?

I once asked a teacher of mine this question.  It always felt like I would get a little taste, or a glance at what peace would look and feel like, then like a whitetail deer, that fleeting moment of an eyeblink, a flicker of tail, springing of muscle and flash of white, the feeling would be gone, elusive.  I will never forget what she told me.  She said, all you have to do is ask.  Peace is always there.  It sits quietly waiting for us to want it.

Huh.

I didn’t understand her answer with the depth that I do now.  Peace is permanent.  It is a part of who we are, our soul, whether we have experienced it or not.  Peace is ours.  It surrounds us, it’s visible and accessible in creation.  We can see it, feel peace, experience it in a quiet moment on a beautiful beach looking out over the vast expanse of the ocean, or a stillness that wraps around you at the peak of a mountain. Peace is snow falling gently enveloping our world in a softness that speaks by saying nothing.

So how do we cultivate peace in our own lives, in our souls, especially when it feels like the world around you is spinning out of control?

 

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First stop.  Ask for peace to become accessible to you.  Create an awareness of peace.  We cannot create or accept something that we do not acknowledge.  Practice peace.

Find a still place.  Slow your body to slow your mind.  Turn off electronics, and your phone.

Come to sitting in a chair, in a comfortable position with your feet flat on the floor, your spine straight, sitting up tall.  Feel your feet firmly connected to the earth below you, while the crown of your head reaches gently up toward the sky.

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Place your hands on your abdomen, fingers spread across the lower belly.

Close your eyes or find a focal point, soften your gaze and relax your eyes.  Relax and release your lower jaw, allowing the molars to part a bit creating space in the back of your mouth, and your tongue to settle into the base of the mouth.

Bring your attention to your breath.  Breathing in and out through the rings of the nostrils begin to gently deepen your breath, drawing the breath into the abdomen allowing your belly to round and expand as you inhale.  Feel your fingers spread gently across your abdomen as the breath fills your belly.  Allow your belly to round and expand filling with breath. Pause and hold the breath with gentle awareness.

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Exhale slowly through your nose, contracting your abdominal muscles to gently squeeze the breath out of the belly.  Feel your hands on your belly, fingers come back together as the air slowly releases from your lungs.

Inhale gently again through the nose, allowing the belly to round and fill with breath.  Bring your attention to your hands feeling them expand over the abdomen.  Pause the breath when your belly is fully rounded, filled with breath.  Count slowly to three.

Exhale slowly to release the breath through the nose, drawing the belly toward the spine to gently squeeze the breath out of the belly to exhale fully.

Continue to breathe slowly and intentionally in this manner.  As you begin to feel comfortable with the breath, cultivate an awareness of peace.  This may be an image, a feeling, or an experience to help you connect with the peace that surrounds us.  With each inhalation breathe in peace.  Allow peace to expand with your muscles as you inhale.  Hold that feeling of peace gently in your center with your belly rounded and expanded.  Allow the feeling of peace to expand outward from your center.

As you slowly exhale, release anything, thought, feeling, image, or idea that is not peaceful.  With each inhalation continue to breathe in peace, allowing the feeling of peace to permeate you, envelop you, support you, and become part of your being.  Feel fully surrounded, supported, loved and connected to peace.  Continue to exhale and release any stress, negativity, and non-peaceful ideals that you may be holding onto.

Breathe and let go.

Breathe and receive peace.

Peace is in us.  Peace surrounds us.  We are peace.  Peace begins with us.

 

 

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